It’s been almost 20 years since the last time these two companies came together for a comic release, but that hasn’t stopped fans from begging for another meeting of the two superhero publishers.
There’s nothing that fans love quite as much as a good crossover between their favorite comic franchises. Just look at the success of The Avengers films! Watching superheroes from different corners of the comics world interact is a joy for superfans.
That’s why comic readers adore crossovers between Marvel and DC Comics. The prospect of Spider-Man hanging out with Superman is too good to be held back by pesky barriers like being owned by different parent companies. It’s not easy for DC and Marvel to sort out their differences and allow crossovers to come together, but when they do, they’re glorious.
Today, we’re counting down the top ten Marvel and DC crossover events.
10. Batman & Spider-Man: Disordered Minds
The first entry on our list is Batman & Sider-Man: Disordered Minds, a crossover event where the Dark Knight teams up with the Web-Head to take down the Joker and Carnage. The one-shot issue is short but sweet, involving a no-frills good-and-evil story.
The one-shot centers on the brief alliance between Joker and Carnage as the two homicidal villains team up to bring chaos to Gotham City. Behavioral psychiatrist Cassandra Briar attempts to implant behavior-modifying chips in the Joker and Cletus Kasady to control their murderous tendencies. This plan backfires, and the villains escape containment.
Spider-Man and Batman work together to bring the pair to justice. Fans love this crossover for its straightforward storytelling and no-nonsense plot.
9. Galactus vs Darkseid: The Hunger
Most DC and Marvel crossover events center on superhero team-ups. However, one of the best collaborations between the two publishers focuses on a contest between two supervillains. Galactus vs Darkseid: The Hunger features a deliciously evil plotline. The world-devouring cosmic being, Galactus, arrives on Apokolips and plans to devour Darkseid’s home planet.
The event is cheesy, melodramatic, and downright silly. However, it features awesome artwork that pays homage to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World era and functions as a tribute to the cosmic comics of the 1970s.
The book is also bolstered by the clever inclusions of the Silver Surfer and Orion. Fans of Marvel and DCs best villains should check out this 1995 one-shot.
8. The Incredible Hulk vs Superman
The Incredible Hulk is an unstoppable green behemoth who can’t be bested in a hand-to-hand fight. Superman is a Kryptonian. He’s suffused with super-strength and the power of flight while exposed to the light of a yellow sun. Comic fans have long wondered who would win in a fight between the two.
Marvel and DC Comics sought to answer this burning question with the 1999 one-shot issue Incredible Hulk vs Superman. The one-off event was written by Roger Stern and penciled by Steve Rude and functions as a playful homage to the Silver Age of Comic Books.
Fans of the Hulk and Superman alike owe it to themselves to check out this one-shot. It’s a one-of-a-kind comic book filled with dynamic fights and over-the-top action.
7. Batman & Captain America
If The Incredible Hulk vs Superman is a Silver Age flashback, Batman & Captain America is a Golden Age love letter. The crossover was penned and penciled by John Byrne. It refreshingly sees the two title characters meeting in mutual respect.
Many books in the “superhero team-up” genre start with the heroes mistaking each other for villains and getting into a fight before coming to their senses and joining forces against the bad guys. Batman & Captain America refreshingly bucks this trend and instead has the title characters accept one another as good guys.
This one-shot also includes the famous sequence of the Joker refusing to work with the Red Skull. Upon learning that Red Skull works for the Nazis, Joker shouts, “I may be a criminal lunatic, but I’m an American criminal lunatic!”
6. DC vs Marvel
The simplest version of any crossover is “who would win?” storylines. Marvel and DC Comics fully gave in to this punch-them-all urge with the DC vs Marvel series in 1996. The four-issue miniseries focused on an inter-universe battle between the two companies’ most popular heroes.
The event had a paper-thin story in which a pair of cosmic brothers representing the two comics universes became aware of one another and decided to pit their superheroes in a battle royale against one another. Fan surveys decided the outcome of the headlining duels, like Superman vs The Hulk and Batman vs Captain America.
The best thing about DC vs Marvel is that the miniseries brings together numerous heroes from both universes. Fans had never seen such a wide cast of disparate characters from both publishers appear alongside each other in a published comic book.
5. Amalgam Comics
Amalgam Comics is a joint initiative between Marvel and DC that fuses many of the companies’ iconic characters. For instance, the series synthesizes Superman and Captain America into Super Soldier. Batman and Wolverine become Dark Claw, Doctor Strange, and Doctor Fate fuse into Doctor StrangeFate—and countless others.
Amalgam Comics published twenty-four one-shot issues between 1996 and 1997. The first wave was a tie-in with the DC vs Marvel event, and the companies presented the books as though they were entries in long-running and well-established series.
Comics superfans loved Amalgam for its refreshing spin on existing superhero tropes. It’s hard to imagine some of the fused superheroes being more than a novelty, but they’re fun experiments nonetheless.
4. Superman vs the Amazing Spider-Man
Superman vs the Amazing Spider-Man was the first superhero crossover between DC and Marvel. The companies co-published the one-shot in 1976, billing it as the “battle of the century”. Interestingly, the issue doesn’t address how the two heroes interact with one another despite existing in different universes. Instead, the narrative assumes that Metropolis and Spider-Man’s version of New York each exist in the same world.
The one-shot starts classically—Superman mistakes Spider-Man for a villain and the two battle. Thankfully, the heroes swiftly discover that they’re on the same side.
The narrative is pure fan service in the best way. Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus team up to terrorize planet Earth. Doctor Octopus turns on Lex when he learns the extent of Luthor’s plan, leaving the criminal mastermind to fend off the wrath of two superheroes alone.
JLA/Avengers is the most recent DC and Marvel collaboration. The two companies co-published JLA/Avengers in 2003, and the miniseries ran until March 2004. Bizarrely, the event was first discussed by the two publishing giants as early as 1979. Since its inception, both publishers wanted George Perez to pencil the crossover.
When Marvel and DC finally agreed to the terms of the miniseries in 2000, Perez was ecstatic to finally draw the comic. The narrative involves the two super-teams trading places in their respective universes to find artifacts like the Infinity Gauntlet and the Spear of Destiny.
The event is considered one of the best DC and Marvel crossovers because it explores the differences between their respective worlds and publishing styles. The Avengers learn that the DC Universe treats the Justice League like deities. Meanwhile, the JLA is appalled at how rough the Marvel Universe is in spite of its superhero inhabitants. This contrast highlights what makes Marvel and DC so unique from one another.
2. Superman and Spider-Man
Superman and Spider-Man is the sequel to the 1976 crossover, and it builds on its predecessor in every way. It’s got swifter plot progression, better art, and a more engaging story. The two superheroes have already gotten their introduction and obligatory “misunderstanding fight” out of the way by the time the narrative picks up.
The 1981 one-shot also uses one of Marvel’s best villains—Dr. Doom. Doom uses his diplomatic immunity as cover while he attempts to take out Superman. It’s a compelling hook for a dynamic one-shot full of striking imagery and great fights.
For instance, the one-shot features the first on-page meeting between the Hulk and Super-Man, and the two briefly battle. Likewise, Spider-Man faces Wonder Woman in an excellent sequence that showcases why both heroes are considered some of the best superheroes of their respective publishers.
1. The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans
Fans largely agree that the Uncanny X-Men and the Teen Titans crossover from 1982 is the best collaboration Marvel and DC have ever worked on together. The two super-teams were extremely popular in the early 1980s, and both drove high sales for their respective companies.
Marvel and DC agreed to have esteemed X-Men writer Chris Claremont pen the crossover one-shot. Walt Simonson provided pencils for the event and lends an early 80s dramatic flair to the proceedings. The issue includes some of the best panels of the 1980s, like the iconic scene of Darkseid summoning the Dark Phoenix.
Fans also adore the crossover’s attention to characterization and its brisk storytelling. Wolverine manages to best Slade Wilson, the villainous Deathstroke, in one famous fight. In another, Raven and Professor X work together to weaken the Dark Phoenix. In short, it’s an exemplary crossover event that complements the best aspects of both franchises.